The same week that President Obama's health regulations go into effect, forcing people of faith to violate their conscience or shut their doors, Mitt Romney was preaching the gospel of economic and religious freedom in Poland and Israel.
By that juxtaposition, the contrast in candidates could not be starker.
Romney's recent tour, the reporting of which has tended to focus on his "gaffes" — noting, for instance, that economic culture matters when it comes to a nation's prosperity and his questioning of security at the London Olympics — has provided a more-important glimpse of how, as president, he would view and reward Europe.
His speeches and comments in both Poland and Israel were testaments to the strength of U.S. alliances based on shared economic principles, as well as a rebuke to Obama's perceived lack of conviction regarding same.
Romney pounded his free-market message by noting Poland's heroic struggle for freedom against an oppressive government. He made clear the point that individual freedom, not government largesse, had created one of the strongest economies in Europe.
"Your nation has moved from a state monopoly over the economy, price controls and severe trade restrictions to a culture of entrepreneurship, greater fiscal responsibility and international trade," said Romney. "When economists speak of Poland today, it is not to lament chronic problems but to describe how this nation empowered the individual, lifted the heavy hand of government, and became the fastest-growing economy in all of Europe."
Romney pointedly spoke of the "false promise of a government-dominated economy," the importance of stimulating innovation, attracting investment, expanding trade and living within means. He also employed a few of those dog whistles that journalists are keen to hear, though some may have whistled right over their heads.
They surely landed as intended on the ears of Catholic voters, however.
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment